JAKARTA • More than 400 Indonesian members of Tabligh, a multi-country Muslim missionary movement, have been taken to Indian courts over the past few days for violating immigration and quarantine policies in the South Asian country.
Meanwhile, Malaysia has brought home from India – via chartered flight – 62 of its citizens who are members of Tabligh, after they were freed of similar charges by the Indian authorities.
At least 17 of India’s 28 states have reported Covid-19 cases linked to a Tabligh religious gathering in New Delhi, local media reported.
Mr Judha Nugraha, director for citizens’ protection at Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry, said on Friday that 150 Indonesians went on trial on Tuesday, followed by 197 on Wednesday and 89 on Thursday.
He said the 436 Indonesians, who were stranded in India after attending an Islamic gathering, were accused of violating their visas as well as the Epidemic Disease Act and, therefore, contributing to the spread of the coronavirus.
During the court hearing, most of the defendants admitted to the violations but said they had not intended to break the law.
The judge has yet to hand down a sentence, but according to previous cases in which Tabligh members from other countries were found guilty, the fines ranged from 5,000 rupees (S$93) to 10,000 rupees.
Mr Judha said the Indonesian government had provided legal assistance to the accused individuals, including helping them be temporarily released on bail so that they can be housed in better shelters while awaiting sentencing.
Meanwhile, 96 Malaysians who were stranded in India, including the 62 Tabligh missionaries, arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday morning, the Free Malaysia Today news site reported.
Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the Malaysians, who were stranded due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine at two designated centres.
The 62 missionaries had been stranded since March and were detained by the Indian authorities for abusing their social visas to carry out religious activities.
Number of Indonesian members of multi-country Muslim missionary movement Tabligh taken to Indian courts over the past few days for violating immigration and quarantine policies.
“However, a large number have gone through the legal process and have been freed of the charges,” Datuk Seri Hishammuddin said in a statement.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK